Nairobi, Feb 20: Kenya cricket coach Jimmy Kamande hopes his team will weather the storm and excel at the ICC Africa World Cup qualifiers from March 17 to 25 set for Windhoek, Namibia.
Kamande, who has named a 14-member team, will be up against stronger challenge from host Namibia, Uganda, Tanzania, Nigeria and Sierra Leone in a six nation tournament, which runs on March 15-24.
Kenya is struggling to remain relevant in the cricket competition, after its game went south since its best says over a decade ago where it played in the semifinals of the World Cup against giant India.
It has since been a slip downwards as wrangles and lack of plans and finance saw talent go to waste.
"We have an obligation to go out and prove we still have talent and can win international matches. The team selected is strong enough to challenge at the continental level," said coach Kamande on Wednesday in Nairobi.
The coach decried lack of funds, which has limited his preparation as he had wanted the team to take a week-long tour of Zimbabwe or South Africa to jell and bond.
Kamande said that during last year's U-19 World Cup in New Zealand, the players learnt from Test playing countries that for youngsters to do well, they should play as many matches as possible as part of their preparation for the world events.
Leading the Kenya team will be former U-19 captain and the country's all-rounder Sukhdeep Singh, who also featured in last year's ICC U-19 Cricket World Cup in New Zealand.
Sukhdeep together with Dilan Shah and Shay Shah will serve as the anchor men for the team.
In Namibia, Kenya will fight it out with and hosts Namibia for the sole slot reserved for the continent in the 2020 U-19 World Cup set for South Africa in January and February.
Dilan Shah is over the moon having made the cut and wants to repay the confidence the coaches' have shown in him by helping the team post better performance in Windhoek.
"I will try and work hard in each match whenever I am called out to play. I know it will not be easy as we will be coming up against tough teams like the host Namibia and Uganda but we will give it our best," Dilan said.
Mombasa's Shukan Mehta and Sukhraj Singh will be instrumental for Kenya's batmen hoping to carry the team through. Uganda's team is trained by former Kenya captain Steve Tikolo. (UNI-Xinhua)